Bringing part two of her message series “And what does the Lord require of you?” Andrea uses John 4:1-8 to illustrate three core points. In the first part of the series, she spoke from Micah 6:8, and suggested that what God wants is for us to seek justice, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.
There are certain moral imperatives on our lives; certain things that we have to do to show our fruit to others. In other words, people need to see our faith lived out. This week, it was Valentines Day. Andrea very plainly told us that this was a sham. A fake ‘holiday’ created and publicised by retailers and businesses to make money. The truth is that we don’t have to wait for someone to tell us that they love us. Jesus always has, and always will. He loves us so much, He laid down His life for us. That’s an awful lot better than a card and a bunch of flowers.
She called on us to dedicate ourselves to the Lord. The road to true breakthrough depends on us believing in and through Jesus. This is when we will encounter sustainable and lasting change. For this to happen, we need to have a self worth, an identity and a purpose in Him.
Andrea’s first core point was:
“Don’t be a Pharisee”
The Pharisees were ‘super religious’. Their entire basis to be was in how they kept the law perfectly. The problem with this is that they then became judges, looking down on those who didn’t do what they were doing. They were self righteous, and hypocritical, pedalling fake news. They were stirrers, trying to cause descent. This is seen in John 3, where they went to John the Baptist and said that Jesus was baptising more people than him. In response, John simply tells them that his joy is complete. When somebody comes to us with fake news, we need to ask ourselves if Jesus would say this. If it isn’t something we can imagine Jesus saying, then it isn’t of God. The Pharisees were so concerned with their own show, that it stopped being about God.
The truth is that when our service becomes about us, Jesus isn’t in it. ‘Pharisees’ seek to judge us for our lack of perfection, but we don’t need to worry about the outside, because God sees a man’s heart. We shouldn’t spend our time looking at people and thinking that we could do better. It is a fact that all people are a work in progress. Nobody but Jesus is all good. Nobody but Jesus is perfect, the best we can hope for is to pray that we do good and not bad. We need to not project our fears and insecurities on to others, but direct our challenges back to God. We can agree to disagree with people, but should not pick over others’ perceived wrongdoing. We are not there to tear another person down. God is in the process of making us holy, but if we do this, then He can’t help us.
Having said this, we must never let someone see we’re doing wrong, and turn around and tell them that it’s okay, because “I’ve got grace”. There is an imperative on us to behave in a certain way. We should not look for a reward, nor tear each other down. We are called to be as good, if not better at keeping the law than the Pharisees, but unlike them, we need to keep our hearts close to God. It is not our place to judge. This is only for God to do.
The second point is:
“Jesus is en route”
Whatever your breakthrough, remember this: the miracle you ask for is on the way. Looking at verses three and four of the passage of scripture, Jesus travels from Judea to Galilee, but in order to take the quickest route, He must go through Samaria. This is so important because when the Jews were in exile, they joined with the Samarians and became a mixed race. The Jews absolutely scorned the Samarians, so this was a big deal. Jesus could have gone around Samaria, but He didn’t. He won’t go around our issues, He goes through them. He goes through our pain to get to us. He will love us until the end of the ages and won’t let anything stop Him from getting to us. He doesn’t care about cultural issues, or any other barriers. He is there for us, always.
Andrea urged us to not ever think that what is important to us isn’t important to Jesus. Taking an illustration from Joshua, where the Priests were carrying the Ark of the Covenant, and God told them to go across the river Jordan, even though it was flooded. As the Priests were going into the river, they started praying, and then a miracle happened and the river became a trickle. The truth was that God had already started the miracle upstream. If we step out in faith, we will find that He has already made a way for us through any obstacles. The miracle is just upstream. Take, for example, the woman at the well. Jesus was already there, waiting for her. We must take this as a reminder to never lose hope.
Andrea’s third point was:
“Remember to make sure that you turn up”
When the Samaritan woman arrived at the well, Jesus was already there. This was Jacob’s well. This shows that Jesus will meet us at a place of promise; of rebirth; of restoration; of living water. Jesus doesn’t care what we have done culturally, He loves us anyway. The Samaritan woman was full of sin, and yet Jesus still spoke to her, and spent time with her. There is nothing so bad that Jesus’ grace can’t cover it. Physical restrictions mean nothing to Jesus. Whatever our past, guilt or shame, whatever we are chaining up inside, it can’t stop us from meeting Jesus. The beauty of it is that when we let go of these things, we find that He was already there. He won’t hold things against us.
Every one of us needs living water every day. We need to get to the place where we are content in Jesus. We need to stop limiting ourselves and just let it go, and then we can let our heart grow. We mustn’t get bitter about perceived losses, mustn’t let our hearts grow hard, all we need to do is to show up at the well to meet up with Jesus. The Samaritan woman did this and changed her entire village. Just imagine what we can do in our communities if we just show up, meet with Jesus and let His light shine out from our hearts.
Scripture: John 4:1-8